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Commission on Revenue Allocation forewarns of national crisis if crucial Bills aren’t passed

COUNTIES
By Luke Anami | January 20th 2014

By Luke Anami                                  

Kenya: The Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) has warned that both the Senate and National Assembly risk plunging the country into a constitutional crisis if they fail to agree on two crucial Bills.

The Division Revenue Bill and the County Allocation of Revenue Bill are both the prerogative of both Houses, which must be in place as soon as Parliament reopens to oversee the allocation and distribution of revenue to both national and county governments.

This comes at a time when the Jubilee Government is facing accusations that it wants to kill devolution.

In an exclusive interview with The Standard, CRA Chairman Micah Cheserem spelt out CRA’s mandate and responsibilities this year, where top on the agenda is to ensure smooth preparation of the two crucial Bills, capacity building for county government staff that will focus on public finance, and county budgets, including how to collect revenue.

Even as Cheserem sends a warning to both Houses, senators, through Kakamega County Senator Dr Boni Khalwale, have already drafted a Bill that would compel the President to sign the Bills into law only after both Houses have agreed in writing.

Equitable sharing

“Based on our mandate which allows the CRA ‘to make recommendations concerning the basis for the equitable sharing of revenue raised by the national government’, this year both National Assembly and the Senate must avoid differences over who holds the mandate over Division Revenue Bill,” Cheserem said.

“CRA wants to make it very clear that the Division Revenue Bill must be agreed upon by both Houses, failure to which will lead to mediation as per the Constitution. If it is not handled well, it will plunge the country into a constitutional crisis with profound proportions on budgets,” he added.

The Division of Revenue Act is the lawful instrument which allocates national revenue between the national government and county governments and must be debated and approved by both Houses.

The County Allocation of Revenue Act on the other hand is solely the Senate’s Bill.

It provides for the division, among counties, of conditional allocations and equitable share of revenue allocated to the county level of government on the basis determined in accordance with the resolution in force under Article 217 of the Constitution.

The 2013/2014 County Allocation of Revenue Act was based on an approved formula comprising five parametres, namely; population, basic equal share, poverty levels, land area and fiscal responsibility.

The parameters account for 45 per cent, 25 per cent, 20 per cent, eight per cent and two per cent of shareable revenue, respectively.

Tensions between the two chambers of Parliament boiled over on June 6, last year.

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